Designations. Manuel Arellanos was summoned by the Digimin Counterintelligence chief to be in charge of a controversial group. This newspaper has identified more than twenty of its members.
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The parliamentary opposition gathers signatures to censure Willy Huerta, head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A few days ago he was questioned, among other issues, about the case of Harvey Colchado. (Photo: PCM)/
On the night of last Monday the 12th, the colonel of the National Police of Peru (PNP) Harvey Colchado was notified by Commander Mario Hidalgo that from the General Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of the Interior (Digimin ), then in charge of General (r) Whitman Ríos, it had been decided to relieve him of his position as head of the Search Division of that organization.
Hidalgo was carrying a memorandum signed by Colonel PNP (r) Luis Sánchez Lira, head of the Digimin Counterintelligence Directorate (and in charge of the Intelligence Directorate until its head is appointed). In the official letter it was said that, by order of Ríos, he was going to replace Colchado. That day they agreed when to transfer the position.
The change was never executed and Ríos was removed from his position as head of the Digimin. However, the fact generated a wide rejection in public opinion and an immediate condemnation of the prosecutor Marita Barreto.
In addition, it caused more annoyance in inside the Ministry not because of what was decided, but because of the grotesque manner in which it was carried out, according to sources from El Comercio in the sector. The reason?: Since last month, a plan has been launched to stealthily undermine the work of the PNP special team, led by Colchado, through Sánchez Lira's Counterintelligence Directorate.
The return of the elder
Manuel Arellanos Carrión is an elder of the PNP who has worked for years in the Digimin Search Division, but when he was under the command of the controversial PNP (r) Colonel Martín Gonzales Sánchez, known as 'Rabbit'. He is one of his most trusted officers.
In March 2022, when Gonzales was appointed head of the Digimin by this government for the second time (and later became Vice Minister of Internal Order), one of the first people they summoned was Arellanos.
Both worked together on the White Necks Case from the Digimin (the Diviac, then under the command of Colchado, also had the case). Arellanos was in charge of coordinating the wiretaps. The two were denounced in 2018, following a report by Colchado, for an irregular request for a reward of S/1.7 million for an informant named 'Axell'.
The main controversy surrounding Arellanos is the surreptitious meeting he held with Martín Vizcarra at his home in San Isidro shortly before the latter assumed the presidency in 2018. Prosecutor Sandra Castro also participated in the meeting, and that was the reason for which she left the investigation of the White Collars Case. But Arellanos continued in the Digimin under the protection of 'Rabbit'.
This newspaper consulted various sources in the intelligence sector and they have indicated that Arellanos was summoned last month by Sánchez Lira to command a special counterintelligence team in Digimin whose priority would be to undermine the work of the Colchado PNP Special Team, which supports to the prosecution in investigations against the government.
“Counterintelligence is to detect risks and threats, but here it is being used for political purposes”, one of the sources said. Another of them indicated that if Arellanos has been used, despite his background, it is for unholy reasons.
According to the sources, this group would be made up of more than 30 troops under the command of Arellanos. This newspaper has identified at least 26, the majority from the Intelligence Directorate of the PNP (Dirin). Thirteen of them met with Sánchez Lira at the beginning of the month. Some of its members would be NCOs Rosalinda Olacua Falcón, José Flores Yopan, Jesús Botetano Tapia, Carlos Llontop Santamaría and Vladimir Quispe Yucra, among others.
These personnel would be trying to gather information to harm the PNP Task Force. It should be remembered that the second investigation that Colchado faces in the Inspectorate is as a result of a counterintelligence report that collected an anonymous complaint via WhatsApp.
The former minister Mariano González denounced days ago that a group was intended to be created in Digimin to weaken Colchado's team.
This newspaper contacted Arellanos, but did not want to confirm or deny the work being carried out by Digimin. Sánchez Lira, meanwhile, did not answer our calls.
Sánchez Lira and Minister Huerta have in common that they were members of the Republican Guard during their time in the PNP. Similarly, the former head of the Transfer Commission of the Minister Abel Tarazona Meliton, current member of the DINI commanded by José Luis Fernández Latorre from Chotano.
Fernández Latorre, Huerta and Tarazona were part of the Mininter transfer commission. Various sources point to Tarazona as the most influential person in that portfolio and who would have recommended Huerta for the position.
In fact, according to the records , Huerta and Tarazona visited Castillo en Palacio last December.
Later, Tarazona went to the Ministry at least five times (four at the end of July and one in early August). In two of them, he met with Huerta, in another with José Gómez Reina, head of the advisory cabinet, and three with Zohar Ortiz Zavaleta, director of Citizen Security. In all of them, Tarazona was registered as DINI staff.